WASHINGTON – President Bush said Friday that New York City officials exercised their own prerogative in publicizing a subway terror threat, declining to second-guess that decision or suggest they had overreacted.
"Our job is to gather intelligence and pass it on to local authorities. And they make the judgments necessary to respond," Bush told reporters. Administration security officials had said on Thursday the threat to New York was of "doubtful credibility," a phrase repeated earlier Friday by Bush's spokesman.
"The level of cooperation between the federal government and the local government is getting better and better. And part of that level of cooperation is the ability to pass information on. And we did, and they responded," Bush said during a picture-taking session at the White House with the prime minister of Hungary.
Asked if he thought New York officials had overreacted, Bush said: "I think they took the information we gave and made the judgments they thought were necessary. And the American people have got to know that, one, we're collecting information and sharing it with local authorities on a timely basis. And that's important."
Earlier, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters: "In this case, we notified New York City officials early on of the intelligence information that we had received. And while it is specific, you heard our homeland security officials say it is of doubtful credibility. It is something we continue to analyze."